I'm not a builder. I don't have the brain for it. Which explains why I was more than hesitant when Nat from the office convinced me to enter a miniature Dyson vacuum cleaner model building contest.
CAPTION: Here I am. Preferring to be shot out of a cannon and into the fucking sun.
Yes. You read that correctly. That has 'utter disaster' written all over it.
We were at the Text100Aus Christmas in August tech and gadget trade show, being absolute nerds. And Dyson were there. Now, I like Dyson because one day I plan on buying several of those crazy air mutlipliers (fancy fans) and then traveling back in time to show them to simple folk so that I might become the 1600s equivalent of Storm from X-Men.CAPTION: This is a Dyson air multiplier. It has come for your family.
They had a competition to see who could build one of their miniatures in the fastest time. Which is all well and good if you are a.) an engineer, b.) MacGuyver or c.) some kind of mechanical savant.
I am none of these things. Allow me to explain why.
I won the dubious award in Year Eight metal work of creating the first copper 'spoon' that possessed none of the concave qualities that allowed it to even function as a spoon. My woodwork attempt at fashioning a car-plug-in portable light in a base of wood produced an abomination of twisted metal and timber.
I was the kid who couldn't put his Kinder Surprise together. I hated Kinder Surprises because they were not a 'reward'. They were a tiny, tiny egg of doom.
The teeny weeny vacuum cleany competition was a race. It had to be. The fastest got to take home an actual version of whichever machine you were building. And there is nothing I love more than free things, particularly in light of my so-far-longstanding commitment to never spend a dollar on anything domestic.
But the competition involved pretty much everything I hate. Tiny, tiny parts, instructions that looked like they belonged to the Large Hadron Collider and a stopwatch.
I tried to connect a hose to a swivel bit to a plastic bit that looked like a dot. It wasn't even big enough to be described as anything else. It looked like a freaking point in space. As the clock ticked, my fingers began to shake.
A waiter came by to offer canapes. I glared at him. CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT WHAT I AM DOING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SUSTENANCE ITSELF?
Then the spectators came. A pair who wanted to try the competition for themselves. I tried to jokingly explain that I might 'be a while' and they chuckled the hearty chuckle of somebody who didn't think I was serious. No seriously guys, I might be here until they release an iPhone 11.
Nat is exceedingly Gen Y. Younger than me and far more acclimatised to a world of technology and instruction manuals and the general detritus of expectation. She finished with the infuriating nonchalance of somebody who has never done this before, beating the record time for her model.
I wished ill upon her immediately.
I, meanwhile, was trying to attach a vacuum head to something that looked like a test tube and almost in full meltdown mode. I was nowhere near finished and announced I was giving up. The helpful man offered his assistance: "Just attach that to this...".
I shook my head. No. "Just, grab this..." NO. And I began taking it apart in furious shakes so the next two could have a go. It was 6 minutes and 32 seconds.
In the race to stack together a vacuum cleaner model with 20 or so parts, I was a glorious Did Not Finish.
I swiftly grabbed another glass of wine.